Sunday, March 03, 2013

In Search Of A Group

When I returned from the Camino I looked for Camino groups in Omaha.  I'd heard of various groups where  pilgrims and pilgrims-to-be got together to swap stores and advice.  I was disappointed when I couldn't find any close to home.  A week or so ago, while perusing the Camino Forum, I came upon a post about the first meeting of the Camino de Nebraska.  That meeting was last night.  I was excited.

The meeting was held at the Holy Family Shrine in Gretna, NE.  The organizer  who was planning her own Camino in a few years, invited a guest speaker who had walked the Camino twice (Spring 2009 & Fall 2011).  I looked forward to sharing stories and learning from the guest speaker's experience.

My expectations turned out to be off the mark.  I'd had a very good experience at the Backwoods Camino Conversation last January and I'd expected that this would be something like that - a gathering of future and past pilgrims exchanging stories and ideas.   It really wasn't anything like that.  The speaker, instead of facilitating a conversation, lectured.  The lecture was more about the speaker's experiences than how you should go about planning your own Camino.  The group of people in the group, maybe a dozen, really were more curious than really interested in doing the Camino - there were a few of course including the organizer and her daughter who were planning to do it.  I did enjoy the speakers pictures as they took me back to my Camino.

The organizer is also trying to put together several mini-pilgrimages to and from several religious shrines/churches in Nebraska (hence the name Camino de Nebraska).  Joining in on one or more of these hikes is tempting but I haven't decided if I'll participate or not.

I'm not sure if this groups is right for me.  The guest speaker's lecture fit the group well I think but I didn't feel like I fit in.  There was a religious undertone that really doesn't appeal to me.  Maybe it was just the setting of the first meeting and how the hikes were being described as pilgrimages to churches and shrines.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it.  Not really sure why that even bothers me since the Camino is a religious pilgrimage ... a pilgrimage that has become very secular.

I'll be keeping my eye on the Camino de Nebraska group.  Wait and see how it progresses.  Who knows, I may discover that my first impressions were wrong.  But, when I mentioned I'd been looking for a local Camino group, I was told twice that I should start my own, a clear indication to me that the Camino de Nebraska is not the group that I'm searching for.

2 comments:

  1. Disappointing for you! I am part of the organizing committee of the Toronto group of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims www.santiago.ca. We just had our spring meeting - 6 topics on preparing for your first Camino in the morning, and panel discussion and an overview of 4 routes in the afternoon - we had 200 people! in the afternoon. Maybe the group already formed would appreciate some input/assistance, or perhaps you do need to start your own. Good luck, and I'll be following you. The blog from my fall camino and volunteer time at Refugion Gaucelmo is www.caminowanderings.blogspot

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    Replies
    1. Darlene: I've seen your blog before ... can't remember where I first heard of it. Thank you for following - the PRESSURE! Ha!

      I've thought about starting my own but ... I have my reasons not to but I would join an existing one if there were one.

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